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 Madeleine LeBeau with Jerry and more than 80 Girl Scouts who joined them for Spirit of '45 Day on Sunday, August 13, 2017.   Madeleine organized the event, and read remarks she prepared for the 30-minute ceremony that concluded with a wreath being placed at the Wall of Gold Stars in honor of Jerry's wingman, 2nd Lt. Phillip Schlamberg, who did not return from their flight on August 14, 1945 - the day Japan surrendered, ending the most destructive war in history.  All of the Girl Scouts who pariticpated in the ceremony received copies of the book "The Last Fighter Pilot," describing Jerry's historic flight.
 
 

December 10, 2017

 
Dear Captain Yellin,

I just received a message from Mr. Hegg and learned that you entered hospice today. I am so sad to hear this news. One of the highlights of my summer was meeting you at the World War II Memorial for Spirit of '45 Day. It was such an honor to meet you -- I had read your book and was in awe of all that you accomplished in World War II and since.

As you may remember, I have been working on a project for the last 2 years involving WWII and ensuring that all that was accomplished by your amazing generation is carried on and remembered by my generation. The program is called iWitnessed -> iRemember and, as of two weeks ago it is now registered as a brand new non-profit organization in the state of Virginia, dedicated to remembering the stories, lessons, values, and skills involved with World War II.

Your story is inspiring. When I first met you at the National Memorial Day parade two years ago in Washington, DC, I realized it was my generation’s responsibility to make sure that the Spirit of ’45 lives on. Shortly thereafter, I spoke to my mentor, Mr. Jamie Sawatzky, about creating an interactive experience for teens to learn directly from the Greatest Generation.

I have worked through my Girl Scout Gold Award project to preserve the wisdom of the Greatest Generation through a unique interactive experience. It was designed to motivate teens to learn, appreciate, and remember the people, the skills, and the values that led to the Allied victory in World War II.

It is my generation's job to remember, to learn from, and to be inspired by what you witnessed. After our discussion, I have been talking about you and your story during my iWitnessed -> iRemember events and, with your permission, I would like to feature you and your stories going forward. I want you to know that I will do everything in my power to help keep the Spirit of ’45 alive. Because our world will always needs the Spirit of '45.

My generation is inspired by those who gave so much, like you, so we can be free. The values that propelled the Greatest Generation through tough times are values that my generation should identify with and ensure they are in the forefront of our minds. Values such as honesty, fairness, courage, strength, helpfulness, a sense of responsibility, patriotism – these are values that are as important today as they were in the 1940s.

You'll be pleased to know that in girl scouting, indeed through our Girl Scout Law, we pledge to carry these values forward. It is our duty as scouts, it is our duty as Americans, it is our duty as members of the last generation to get a chance to meet and to interact with the Greatest Generation to remember and honor your spirit and sacrifice. And we will.

Captain Yellin, I will always remember and be inspired by you. Thank you for helping to save the world. I am so grateful to you and will work to make sure that the good you brought to the world is preserved. You are a blessing to me and to our world.

You witnessed, we will remember.

With warmest regards and much appreciation,

Madeleine LeBeau